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Harbor Light Monogatari - Fashion Lala Yori (OVA).

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Joined: 27 Aug 2005
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 26, 2012 12:14 am Reply with quote
Harbor Light Monogatari - Fashion Lala Yori (OVA)

Plot Summary: Eleven-year-old Miho wants to be a fashion designer and is eager to make a dress for her cousin, Shuri, to help her win the Dancing Queen contest. When Miho's cruel aunt ruins the dress, the fairies hear her prayer and transform her into the 16-year-old-old Lala, a top designer.

NOTE: this has major SPOILERS for this anime. I’ve put my whole post in spoiler tags just in case someone clicked on this topic without having seen this anime but doesn’t actually want this anime spoiled.

Has anyone seen Harbor Light Monogatari - Fashion Lala Yori? After watching it, I was really wondering what other people thought of it, and if anyone shares my interpretation of it.

As I was watching it, the whole thing seemed very bizarre. If you haven’t seen it, it is basically a version of Cinderella, except with a disco contest instead of a ball. The story differs from Cinderella in that instead of a prince who the ball is being held for, there is a rebellious mayor’s son who is strongly opposed to the disco contest being held by his father. He seems to hate his father and sister for no explained reason, and progresses to actually carrying out bombings and other terrorist attacks to try to stop the disco contest. Eventually, he leads his friends in an attack on the disco, throwing firebombs into the crowd. At least one of his friends is gunned down by police as they burst into the stadium where the disco contest is being held. As all this inexplicable violence is taking place, the main character, Miho, becomes Fashion Lala and magically appears at the disco. Her dancing and magical transformations, showing off the fashion designs she had thought up, wows everyone present and somehow seems to resolve the situation.

After how bizarre the anime seemed, I was actually relieved when Miho woke up after the disco contest. The whole thing clearly had been a dream (despite her statement to the contrary as she was waking up), as her room was completely different from before and she was clearly no longer mistreated by the aunt and cousins who had been taking care of her while her father was away. Rather than the creators of this anime thinking that the mayor’s son’s actions made sense, it was all just a dream, and dreams don’t need to make sense.

Except then it hit me . . . why the mayor’s son had been so upset with his father and sister. When the mayor got a phone call in the middle of the night, his daughter was shown in the bed next to where he was taking the call, which seemed kind of odd. As I watched the anime, I just dismissed this as something not well thought out by the creators of the anime. However, after finishing the anime, it dawned on me that the mayor and his daughter were actually in an incestuous relationship. A lot of things that hadn’t made sense earlier suddenly made sense. As the mayor was having an argument with his son, his son was incensed to learn that his sister was present at the mayor’s house, and then spat on the floor in disgust as he threw open the door to the next room and saw her in bed there. It was the middle of the day, yet she was half-dressed in a bed only reachable through the rooms the mayor used to meet with people, while the mayor was wearing a bathrobe over pajamas, again in the middle of the day. Apparently the mayor and daughter just couldn’t wait until later to get “reacquainted” after she had been away for a long time . . . of course the son was furious and disgusted upon learning about this situation. This also explained why the mayor’s daughter had apparently been away for a long time, and why her existence had been hidden from the townspeople . . . she had been sent away to cover up the incestuous relationship, but apparently now the mayor had brought her back from wherever she was. This also provided an explanation as to why the mayor’s son would be so angry that he would resort to extreme violence in order to try to disrupt the disco contest the mayor was holding for his daughter.

After coming to that realization, I was faced with a problem with how I had previously interpreted the ending of the anime. My interpretation of the ending had been that it was Miho’s dream. Though she had seemed completely oblivious to the relationship between the mayor and his daughter, if it was her dream, it must be her mind that was dreaming up the incestuous relationship. Had I really just watched an anime that was intended as an 11 year old girl’s subconscious trying to come to terms with the inappropriate feelings she had developed for her father while he was away for an extended amount of time? I found it hard to believe that the creators of this anime actually intended that, which would lead to the alternate conclusion that everything was real. That would mean that the same magic that made her into Fashion Lala changed the world at the end of the anime, causing her father to return and her to no longer be mistreated by her aunt and cousins.

Still though, I really can’t understand what the director and other creative staff were thinking as they made this anime. It certainly looks like an anime intended for children on the surface, yet at the same time, I’m now thoroughly convinced that it involves incest. Was it intended to be something where the incestuous relationship would go over the heads of any kids watching it, but be understood by adults? Who was the anime even intended for, and why would the creators think this was a good idea for a pilot that they apparently were hoping would be made into a series. Though Fancy Lala did get made eventually, I can’t imagine this would go over well with a TV executive looking for a new show for children. I tried to find other interpretations of the anime online, but nothing I found seemed to indicate that anyone else thought this anime involved incest (though I’m convinced it’s there). Certainly, Justin and Bamboo didn’t mention anything about that when it came up in an ANNCast episode.

So anyone, if anyone else here has seen this, I was wondering what you thought of it. Does anyone agree with me that it involved incest, or am I just completely off-base there? Also, how do you interpret the ending . . . was it all a dream, or did magic change the world (or perhaps some other interpretation I haven’t thought of)?

[EDIT: Added the Encyclopedia link for you, as well as it's picture and plot summary. Also removed your spoiler tags since most discussion threads are generally expected to have spoilers anyway and your tags were waaaay too far apart, which made it nearly impossible to actually hover over and read. -TK]
[EDIT: I had reported that plot summary as erroneous, so I went ahead and corrected it here. - Calathan]
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